It’s not exactly a product on the top of a person’s wish list but a decent oil drain pan makes the oil change process of capturing and recycling or disposing of old oil much easier. The best oil drain pan is large enough to tackle the biggest vehicle you own, and is built with a way to easily empty the pan when the oil change is complete. It has to be rugged enough to handle when full of oil, and durable enough to endure repeated usage. Consult your owner’s manual before you purchase an oil drain pan, and make sure that you are ordering a pan large enough for your vehicles. If you plan on changing the oil in more than one vehicle, look for an oil drain container that has extra capacity. The smaller size pan is fine for cars which use 5 quarts or less.
Lisle is best known for their popular mechanics creeper but the 17942 oil drain pan deserves to be our top pick. It is formed of stain and chemical resistant plastic that’s impervious to rough treatment and the 4.5 gallon (18 quart) pan is large enough for even the biggest private vehicles or 2-3 smaller ones. It is well designed, with an upper lip that reduces spills and splashing, plus the 1 inch nozzle makes disposing of the old oil easier and a lot less messy. The three molded handles are ergonomically placed to allow for carrying and positioning, and at a little over 6 inches high, you will not have a problem getting it under most vehicles.
The biggest design flaw is that the large 1 inch spout will not fit into many containers commonly used for old oil, including gallon milk jugs. But using an inexpensive plastic funnel is the preferred way of filling up these types of container no matter how narrow the spout it. Other things that would make this unit more appealing would be a plug to seal the spout during transportation, and metal or plastic screen to catch the oil plug or filter if it falls. Neither of those are critical, but having them would sweeten the deal on what is already the best oil drain pan for the money.
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Neiko made a simple design better by splitting the container into a drainage tray and a holding tank, earning them a spot as one of the best oil drain pans. The sleek design is easy to maneuver in tight spaces, and it will fit into opening that are only 5 inches or so high. Another nice trait is the handle design, and the way it doubles as a container handle for transporting the container once it is filled. The unit even comes with plugs to seal it during transportation. The biggest flaw is that too much space is taken up with the handy drainage tray, reducing the available volume to only 11 quarts, or about 2.75 gallons. If the storage area were a little higher, this pan might be our favorite but but if you don’t have the need for the large size of the Lisle, the Neiko is a great product.